I registered the domain of my first and last name in 2014. Fortunately it was not already taken by anyone else. So I took the opportunity to make a website with my name on it.
I was new to building websites back then and still learning the basics of HTML, CSS, and content management systems like WordPress.
It was super basic and served as a place for me to put myself out into the world as a professional. But ultimately it was an alternative place to post the narrative of my resume.
Beyond that, I just became fascinated with the idea of how you could influence what “came to mind” first when people search for you on the internet. Later on I learned that this was a major tenant of modern-day SEO. Ah, learning is fun.
The original ChristianMcKinney.com had lots of white space, a smattering of text, and one serious-looking photo of me taken in 2013.
I don’t have any of the elements of that site anymore (which I’m fine with) but here is a screenshot of the home page that somebody grabbed and posted on the internet at some point.
See? It wasn’t much. But you have to start somewhere, and I did. Even in 2014, the idea of keeping up a website with my name on it was pretty wild to me. As I write this five years later it just feels so much more natural. Maybe I’m just more used to it.
But I am proud of one thing that I made sure was part of the site: a mobile-friendly responsive design. Go me!
I had only gotten my first smartphone two years earlier (an iPhone 4) and I was obsessed with having a good user experience.
That, by the way, is still paramount to having a good website. The user experience is everything, and therefore reducing friction is everything.
For me, it was a tough process of trial and lots of errors, but it was also a wonderful learning time. Design, layout, color, site speed, server quality, and many other things were now my personal classes outside of work, and the internet was my teacher and school. I recommend it to anyone.
But let’s get back to me having a .com website with my name on it. Does that make me narcissistic? I know my intent, so the answer here is no.
I’ve said this about businesses in the past. The same is true for people: It’s good to have a “home base” on the internet. If you ask me, all businesses should have one. But people? I think more people should have a website. Many currently don’t.
It does a couple of things once you begin and continue the process of starting and keeping up a website. First, it provides value or potential value to friends, family, and people who have not yet met you. Second, it forces you to look at yourself from the eyes of others.
This is a great exercise by itself because you are looking at yourself through the lens of a consumer. All of a sudden general marketing concepts are a consideration, even if you aren’t classically trained in it.
Your thoughts may lean to utility and practicality. “What should the home page say? Do I really want this picture of me out in the ‘real’ internet? I like the way those jeans make me look. How should people contact me?”
Questions like those are just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea. So is it worth it? If you ask me the answer is yes. Whether it’s a single page site that simply tells people how to get in touch with you, a blog where you share your thoughts and journey, or anything in between, it’s a great thing to have, and a hobby that brings value to others at the least.
As technology advances, it’s easier than ever to begin your own website journey. The barrier to entry is no cost, and if you want to swim a little deeper you can begin creating your personalized .com website for around $1 per month.
I’m not posting any links here, so if you want to learn more you’ll have to use the phone or computer you’re reading this on to search for the answers you need on Google or Bing.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on having a website with my name on it. To me, this article should bring general levels of value. In the future I’ll write articles that bring even more value. And who knows? Maybe it will be enough that you share those things with your friends.
If you have your own personal website or are considering one, I would love to know your thoughts. Send me a tweet or a message and I will respond. Much love ❤️.